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Neil Young calls for compassion for Capitol rioters: 'Mostly I felt bad for the people'


Interesting take

Photo by Jo Hale/Redferns

Legendary musician Neil Young says that people should be more compassionate toward Capitol rioters and points out that President Donald Trump and social media have helped to "foment hatred" and spread discord among Americans.

What are the details?

In a new memo posted to his website, the famed Canadian-American guitarist and vocalist said that those on opposite sides of the political spectrum are "not enemies."

"Sadness and compassion hit me last night as I watched fellow Americans telling their stories," he wrote. "A young lady in tears spoke of being maced in the Capital [sic]. She was crying because she had been attacked and all she was doing was trying to have her voice heard in this Revolution. She was one of thousands who have been carrying the feeling of being persecuted for their beliefs, their feeling that American power just didn't care."

Young — who has been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump — added that the president has "betrayed the people, exaggerated, and amplified the truth to foment hatred," but that it is ultimately up to Americans to put aside their differences and come together as best as they are able.

"Resentment of the Democratic party among the insurrectionists at the Capitol was rampant," he continued. "We don't need this hate. We need discussion and solutions. Respect for one another's beliefs. Not hatred."

Young also blasted what he said was a "double standard" in the way Black Lives Matter demonstrators were treated in the aftermath of the summer riots when compared to that of the Capitol rioters.

"I was devastated to see the double standard," he proclaimed. "The way people were treated in the BLM demonstrations recently, compared to the other day. There is no place here for White Supremacy. People need each other to be truly free. Hatred will never find Freedom."

Young said that social media — with Trump's help — has helped to turn brother against brother in the United States.

"I learned that a some of the people storming the Capitol were police themselves, and gained peaceful entry by showing their badges. I was shocked to see the Confederate flag being waved inside the chamber; the destruction and disrespect. But mostly I felt bad for the people," he wrote. "With Social media, issues are turned to psychological weapons and used to gather hatred in support of one side or the other. That is what Donald J. Trump has as his legacy."

Young concluded that while his beliefs have not changed, he is able to feel empathy for those people "who have been so manipulated" and who "had their beliefs used as political weapons."

"I may be among them," he admitted. "I wish internet news was two-sided. Both sides represented on the same programs. Social media, at the hands of powerful people — influencers, amplifying lies and untruths, is crippling our belief system, turning us against one another.

He concluded, "We are not enemies. We must find a way home."

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